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tv   Frontline  PBS  March 25, 2020 4:00am-5:01am PDT

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>> gun sales have surged as the coronavirus outbreak grips the u.s. >> narrator: across the countrys gun sales on the re. ers areous sho emptying store shelves across... >> nrator: but in washington a growing threat to the gun lobby. >> nra, shame on you. >> narrator: from the public and politicians. >> if i'm elected, nra i'm coming for you. >> narrator: drawing on years of reporting. >> the threat now with this election is greater than any threat we've faced. it will not happen on my watch... >> narrator: now, "nra under fire". >> frontline is made possible contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you.
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thank you. and by the corporati for public broadcasting. john d. and catherine ded by the macarthur foundation, committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information is available at macfound.org. the ford foundation: working with visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide. at fordfoundation.org.on addi support is provided by the abrams foundation, committed to excellence in journalism. the park fndation, dedicated to heightening public awareness of critical issues. a the jo helen glessner family trust. supporting trustworthy journalismhat informs and inspires. and by the frontline journali fund, with major support from jon and jo ann hagler.
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♪ >> hello. today is the day. the day of my massacre shall begin. >> narrator: he was a 19-year-old dropout. >> all the kids in school will i hate everyone and evng. with the power of my ar, you will all know who i am. (laughing): you're all goi to die.ng (imitaunshots) ah, yeah. can't wait. ♪ (students talking in background) >> it was valentine's day. and we had joked, days prior, that i was going to ruiny valentine's th this quiz. and the fire alarm went off. (fire alarm blaring) >> what the (bleep)...
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>> i heard what sounded ke faint pops. students started to evacuate, thinkingt was a fire drill. and that's when he came up the stairs and ravaged that floor. (gun firing, people screaming) si>> narrator: in less tha minutes, he fired 140 rounds from an ar-15. >> it just became ry real, very fast. (gun firing rapidly) >> holy (bleep oh, my god, oh, my god! (gunfire continues) >> (bleep)!: oh, my god. (gun firing in distance) >> oh, (bleep), yo. >> no, no, no. >> shut the door. >> shut the lights off. >> people were texting and >> (whispers): i heardi heard one gunshot. we thought it was a dril initially, but it's not. >> hush. >> we stood in a closet, 19 of us and theeacher.
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>> i just had to take out my phone and film a lot of what was going on. >> hands up, guys, keep those hands up. >> let's go, let go, let's go. >> narrator: ryan deitsch kept filming as he and s classmates fled. >> we codn't tell what was going ont what point.ra it's agedy. >> follow me, follow me, follow narrator: 14 students and >> on the wall.re dead. >> (crying): oh, my god. ♪ >> breaking news, a deadly shooting at a florida high school... >> pkland, florida, this ise' where therbeen a school shooting...en >> it sends stud rushing out into the streets...us >> there are "numero fatalities." >> narrator: as the students evacuated, so did the shooter. he was later arrested. >> a number of parents who are crying right now, they're worrieabout their children in that school... >> parents going running to that area to find their loved ones... ♪
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>> you're looking at live pictures there where there is ae achooter at marjory stoneman douglas high school. >> parkland, floridathat's in broward county. information in, it's breaking at this hour... >> narrator: once again, students had been gunned down in a school. >> yeah, hey, do you guys need a live interew? >> narrator: but this time, after the 105th school shooting, these students were determined they wouldn't be just another statistic.t >> we didn't jusnt it to end here. we didn't just want it to end once the camer went away. >> we wanted to make sure thatt it wasn'just forgotten about. we wanted to make sure that the story was still being told. ♪ ( >>anting): no more! no more! >> narrator: ryan and his classmates went on the
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offensive. >> i now want to introduce emma gonzález.al >> iour government and president can do is send "thoughts and prayers," then it's time for victims to be the change tt we need to see. >> narrator: 18-year-old emma gonzález led the charge. >> the people in the government telling us nothing could have ever been done to prevent this, we call bs. >> bs! >> they say that no laws could have been able to prevent thes hundreds of senselagedies that have occurred. we call bs! >> narrator: they had a target. >> to every politician who is taking donations from the nra,ou shame on >> narrator: the national rifle association, theation's >> we had learned in, own government class that the nra is one of the largest and most powerful lobbying forces. and we decided that they coaydn't just keep going the they were going. >> emma gonzález's speech is trending on twitter this morning. >> a teenar is getting a lot
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of attention on social media... ange.guished voices calling for >> students turned activists trained their own political sights on the nr >> i think that that speech resoted with so many americans. going up against this kind ofen enched washington behemoth. you know, they were everything the nra is not. >> from my cold, dead hands. >> narrator: once one of the most feared foes in washington, for decades dominating one issue: guns. >> the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. n rator: an unrivaled power that would ultimately become a target.in >> hell, yes, we're to take your ar-15, your ak-47. we're not going to allow it... ♪ na >> the natiol rifle
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association has made possible the training of thousands of instructors. >> nartor: long before it was at the center of a political firestorm... (gun fires)he ..ra was something very different. >> the nra was a safety organization.ea they helped people their children and, and their friends and family how to use and ore and keep firearms safely. >> this is an organization that back ithe '60s, was a very tame, not particularly political organization. >> here is a bulletin from cbs narrator: but that would begin to change with the assassinations of the 1960s. >> there has beean attempt, as perhaps you know now, on the life of president kennedy. (sirens blaring) (gun firing) >> ...shooting, i repeat, a shooting on the motorcade. $12, .38-caliber, mailot by a rifle. (gun fires) martin luther king-- a 760 gamemaster.
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and robert f. kennedy-- a saturday night special. (siren blaring) armed conflict broke out on america's streets. in washington, the response-- gun control. >> effective crime control remains, in myudgment, effective gun control.>> narrator: those words would be a call to arms for some in the national rifle association. >> the nra people said, "wait a minute. we've got otr things to worry about than, than teaching guys how to shoot or how to hunt, and so forth, orollect guns." and that's when, that was the transformative period. >> narrator: the transformation happened here in 1977. >> the national rifle assoation convention in cincinnati went into overtime last night, a stormy, all-night session. >> narrator: two sides faced off: hunters versus gun-rights tivists. >> when it was over, some ssident members had take control of the 400,000-member
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organization. what it means is even stricter support for the right to bear arms and against gun control. >> they believed that it was incumbent upon the nra to become a second amendment organizationh an cleared the board of people that disagreed with them. and the nra has essentlly been that ever since. >> this is an nbc news special >> narrator: but just a few years later, another dramatic shooting would challenge the a. >> you can see the president (gun firing). >> narrator: presidenteagan, ot in the lung. >> there's the shots. (people murmuring in background) >>bleep)! >> narrator: and his press secretary, james brady, in the head. >> they said six shots in twose conds. >> let the ambulance in here!te >> narrator: in thrmath, once again, a call for gun control. >> these incents seem to keep happening, and that is a real puzzle and a tragic puzzle. >>imarrator: over the years, brady beme a powerful symbol.
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a gun-control group formed around him in opposition to e nra, which had launched a full-scale lobbying effort in the capitol. and by t time bill clinton was elected, the anti-gun movement had found a president lling to take up their cause. >> president clinton blasted the national riflessociation... >> narrator: clinton cracked down on guns... >> president clinton signed the crime billnto law today... >> narrator: banning the import of military-style handguns. of one bans the importatio foreign-made assault pistols... >> narrator: the assault weapons ban... weapons...n 19 types of assault >> narrator: and background checks at gun stores. esident.nning victory for the >> narrator: it seemed like a victory for the gun-control forces. saw it.t's not the way the nra >> has the nra really lost its clout in congress? >> i think nra benefiteden trusly through the clinton years, because of the extreme radilism of the antiun---w
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call them legers, i call them regressives, not progressives-- buthe anti-gun people. >> it's in combat that the nra thrives. it's with enemies that the nra b t able to communicate its point of view, and above all, raise money. >> narrator: near the end of his presidency, clinton would take on the nra one last time. >>arrator: it was set in motion by a shooting at a colora high school. >> the pictures that we are watching here in colorado are being broadcast nationally... >> is very chaotic out there right now. >> swat teams went in to rescue possible hostages. >> we are going to continue to follow this horrific situation taking place in littleton... >> narrator: americans would see fothe first time students being gunned down. 188 rounds fired off. (gun firing rapidly)
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(explosion echoes) and a bomb detonated in the cafeteria. as the two assailants, seen here, enter the room and hunt for stent victims, they hadd killed 13 and woun more. >> you see some of the victims being taken out.an we wt to advise you, we have no confirmation of any... >> they're continuing to find vig,ims throughout the build throughout the school, as swat team members slowly go through the building, because it is not secure as of now. >> narrator: in the days that followed, the police gathered evidence, including homeideos of the attkers and their weapons. >> narrator: they had assembled a small arsel: sawed-off shotguns, a nine-millimeter carbine rifle, and a tec-9 the shooters got a friend to buy some of the weaponat a gun show, which didn't require a cht would become known as the
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gun-show loophole. >> columbine was a direct thre to the american gun culture because columbine really brought to the surface the idea that a couple of disturbed teenagers, if they want to, on any given weekend, can go to a, a gun show and assemble the weapons they need to go and take over the ooting everybody.shoot, >> at the colorado state capitol, the anguish over the columbine massacre turned to protests. >> nartor: in the wake of the shootings, thousands protested in denver. >> some here are channeling their grief into protest... >> narrator: demanding thatso thing-- anything-- be done. >> 8,000 strong... o >> narrator: of them was the father of a 15-year-old victim. >> i had a sign made at a sign shop with daniel's picture on it, and the rds, "my son died at columbine. he would expect me to be here today." r: >> narrahe protesters had a specific target-- guns and the nra. >> something is wrong in this couny... when a child can grab a gun...
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grab a gun so easily and shoot.. a bull (exhales) ...into the middle of a child's face, as my son expeenced. something is wrong. n >> theional rifle association, target of much anger in colorado... >>arrator: as it happened, just blocks away, the nra was gathering for its long-plannedan al convention. >> gun enthusiasts insist there's no connection between the columbine tragedy and weapons. >> narrator: inside, top executives of the a weighed how to respond. they issued a public statement of sympathy and then sent out their most famous member, movie star charlton heston. >> thank you thank you, thank you. >> you cldn't have picked a better caricature of who you wanted speaking, with that
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stentorian voice of his. >> america must stop thisn predictable patt reaction. when an isolated, terrible event occurs, our phones ring, t demanding th nra explain the inexplicable.wh us? because their story needs a villain.r: >> narraespite the shooting, the nra stayed focused on its core belief-- the right to own guns. >> the base of the national rifle association believes so strongly, it's more a religion,n or what a relised to be. there's a passion involved in it.ra >> thes the closest thing that a membership group can have to just pure patriotism. they love theicountry. >> as long as there's a secondne amendment, evil car conquer us. tyranny in any form can never find footing within a society of
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law-abiding, armed, ethical people. >> narrar: heston tapped into a fundamenl fear of nra members-- that the government would use columbine to resict and then take away their guns.t >> purchasesn stores start to go up astronomically as people, who are thinking about buying a particular gun over thh course onext year or so, worry that they may outlaw it.et "ir get it while i can." >> narrator: hundreds of thousands of new members signed lumbine.he nra right after >> the gun is a symbol of frdom, the only thing that keeps bad government from taking over. it really has nothing to do with guns, it has to with freedom. but things started getting more political. >> the president of the united >> narrator: within weeks, while speaking to the columbine community, president clinton would push back on the nra and rally the gun-control forces.
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>> you have a unique chance-- a chance-- to make sure that the children of columbine are never forgotten. >> the attack in columbine was such a shock to the bo politic that we felt the country neededn to do some >> thankou and god bless you. (crowd applauds) ♪ bill to close that gunroposed a loophole. >> mr. ashcroft. mrbaucus. >> narrator: it was quickly rushed to a vote. as the roll was called, the senate was split.re >> vice president go called to the capitol to break a deadlock. >> new laws to govern gun sales were deeply dividing... >> narrator: vice president gore needed to break the tie. >> on this vote, t yeas are 50. the nays are 50.al the senate being e divided, the vice president
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votes in the affirmative, and the amendment is agreed to. >> it was a setback today for the gun lobby and its allies in congress.>> arrator: one month after columbine, the nra had lost the firsround. >> the democrats admit the grip of the national rifle association had finally been broken. >> the gun-control battle now moves to the house, where the tide also seem.. >> narrator: the bill then headed to the republican-controlled house of representatives, and that was where the national rifle association would make its stand-- under the leadership of wayne lapierre. >> the way that we saw in columbine was really large and, in charge of this hunamic organization. >> narrator: in the 1970s, he started as a lobbyist.>> f you're a political junkie, like wayne or like myself, it was a wonderful jo >> narrator: but lapierre was nh one's idea of a glding lobbyist. >> he was a very quiet man.
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i was amazed he was a lobbyist, because he did not have the "hail fellow, well met" attitude or personality that i associated with politicians or with lobbyists. >> narrator: and surprisingly for the nra, he was not a gun enthusiast, more comfortable on k street than in duck blind. >> the safest place you could bw wine and a gun back then was in a different state, because he really did not know anything about guns. politics, yes. guns, no. >> narrator: but inside the vided politics of the nr lapierre was skillful,ng navigaetween the sportsmen >> wayne could put a ftoists. the wind and see which way it a was blowin he would position himself so that neither side would be offended and might even think that he were, in fact, on that side.
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>> in an organization that is so beset by factionalism, his being unmoored to any particular point of view is actually very helpful for him in terms of being able to ride the torrents that have occasionally swept through the nra and emerge always on top. >> ...legally to get a gun... de narrator: now lapierre crucial decision-- to counterattack, fight against clinton's attempt to close the gun-show loophole. >> what we see is the president now dusting off every tired old gun-control bill that's been around his administration r the last six years. >> the nra needed to go and show that it could stand up to the presiden that it could stand up, and it could, it could, toe-to-toe, meet him in the ring and bash his brains out. >> narrator: it was all part ofa what would becomerre and the nra's playbook. m >> (recordsage): wayne lapierre, executive vice president of the national rifle association.es
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>> (recordedge): this year, more than ever, your vote really can make a difference. >> narrator: within days, faxes and phone calls... >> "the clinton-gore administration isn't wasting any time attempting to further its aggressive anti-gun agenda." s >> narratoking fear that their guns could be taken away. >> fear is a much greater motivator in american politics than anything else, the fear of losing rights that you perceive you have. when that fear level is high, that's when the groups that represent the issue do well. >> (recorded message): nra calling with an urgent... >> narrator: the nra activated its members. >> you don't need thounds of people, and u don't need millions of dollars. you need hundreds of people who will get on the phone, a really, a couple of hundred people to show up at a town-hall meeting. you do that a couple of times, and your member of congress gets the message. charlton heston.sage): i'm we need your help to protect our freedom... >> the nra's membership, if it had e political trait, they vote. it's that simple.
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you are a politician. you want to get elected. you want votes.e a has votes. >> narrator: it also gradesie members of both pa punishing them if they break with the nra on guns. >> and so if you've got an f rating from the nra, and you are trying to get elected, good luck with that. ♪ >> those in favor of the amendment will say aye. >> aye! >> those opposedill say no. >> no! >> nrator: after the nra lobbying blitz, the white house2 came votes short. >> gunontrol legislation on today on the floor... for dead >> a hands-down victory for e nra. >> when i saw that after this horrific tragedy, despit everything that people say about, "we have to do something to prevent this fr happening again," when they couldn't do something as basic as that, i was livid. >> the national rifle
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association opens its annual convention today. >> the nra convention he is rallying the gun-rights faithful... >> narrator: one year after columbine, it was time for another nra national convention. >> ...convention center opened at 10:00 this mornin >> ladies and gentleman, and members of the national rifle association of america, your president, charlton heston. >> narrator: they had overwhelmed the clinton administration and successfully demonstrated their power in congress. it had been a very good year for the nra. >> the nra is back! narrator: and now the nra) would take the offensive. >> that leads me to that one mission at is left undone-- winng in november. >> the race between george w. bush and al gore, that's the last year that the gun issue played a critical role i american politics.
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>> narrator: it was time tole se score with the man who had broken that tie vote in the senate, al gor >> i want to say those fighting words for everyone within the sound of my voice to hear and to heed, and especially for you, mr. gore. from my cold, deadands!he (crowd cs and applauds) >> narrator:he nra would spend $20 million on the 2000 election, the most aggressive political campaign they had evet unen. >> al gore wants government testing, licensing, and registration for all firearms owners. he cast the vote that would have shut down every gun show. this year, vote freedom firs because if al gore wins, you lose. >> to all of you in west virginia, it's halloween, and a gore doesn't nmask to scare gun owners and hunters! >> the nra wins because it's
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aftient, and because long ter america's dismay about these gun massacres has faded, the nra and its membership are still thinking about guns. >> good evening, everybody, and welcome to our election coverage 2000. >> stay with us. we're about to take you on an exciting and bumpy ride. >> narrator: and on election day, the nra was rewarded. >> al gore has lost in tennessee tonight. >> embarrassing vice president gore by snatching his state's 11 electoral votes... >> in no small measure, it was that fight over guns after columbine that had the firearm community more enlivened, engaged. and a few votes' difference, and the whe thing would have gone the other way. >> narrator: gore was an example to democrats of the risk of going up against the nra. >> democrats came to belie that gun control was a toxic issue for them. democrats were running scared of
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thnra. >> i, george walker bush, do solemnly swear that i wi faithfully execute the office of >> narrator: george w.s states. inauguration would mark the beginning of a decade where the nra would get what it wanted. the assault weapons ban would expire, the supreme court would rule that individuals had a constitutional right to own guns, ngress would pass a law to protect gunmakers from lawsuits. the gun-control forces were left in disarray. >> gun-control movement is fragmented. you don't have what you need to mount a true movement, which is committed warriors-- people who don't need money, who don't need fancy galas, who come out 'cause they care. that's what the gun people have. >> narrator: but eventually, the nra would be threatened by two
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events. >> obama! obama!si >> narrator: a new pnt-- barack obama. >> obama, obama, obama! a >> narrator: aepidemic of mass shootings, one that would test the nra's wl. >> 911, wh's the location of your emergency? >> okay... >> narrator: 154 rounds from a bushmaster semiautomatic rifle. (gun firing rapidly) ♪ >> narrator: it lasted less than five minutes. >> narrator: this time, it was six- and seven-year-olds.
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we smell fire from the gunshots. you guys, come in my room now. get in here. >> okay, well... >> there's still shooting going on, please. (gun firing) >> i need, i need assistance here immediately. >> narrator: 20 children and six adults were shot dead. >> shots are sti being fired there. >> get everybody you can going down there. >> narrator: outside, it was chs. >> my daughter's in that building, please! >> i have five children who ran from sandy hook school. >> there were just more emergency vehicles and had ever seen in my life.an i i couldn't... i just... it was a surreal scene.ju couldn't believe it. >> narrator: mark barden'son, daniel, was a first-grader at sandy hook elementary. >> more and more of the kids eire being collected by th families, and... no danie and there was this growing group of parents that were growing ins concern, "where, whey child?" >> narrator: nicole hockley'sn, ylan, was another first-
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grader at sandy hook. >> you know, and you're searching,earching the eyes, searching the faces for someone that you recognize, and i just, i couldn't. >> they told us that, "if you haven't been reunited with youre loved on you're not going to be." (radios running in background) ♪ >> the majority of those who t diay were children.be tiful little kids between the ages of five and ten years old. as a country, we have been throh this too many times.
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may god bless thmemory of the victims, and in the words of scripture, "heal the broken-hearted and bind up their wounds." >> narrator: like clinton before him, president obama took up the cause of gun control. he handed the job to vicen. president joe bi >> it was in a context of sorrow, extreme, i mean, anger and frustration about, why can'e o something about this? it was, like, "enough is enough is enough. e." together something for me, (siren blaring in distance) >> narrator: at the nra, they knew another political fight was ming. >> my feeling was, "uh-oh, here we go again. oh, they're going to come out and blame the nra.
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we're real in trouble now." but i just feared what might happen. >> when newtown occurred, it was like columbine all over again, and we immediately knew that there would be a big push among politicians to seize the opportunity, 'use they're kind of like vultures on the gun issue. they have to wait until there's a pile of dead bodies, and thenc the swooping in with their catcalls and everything else. it's very disgusting. >> the democrats debat one on one... >> narrator: the nra had reason to worry. ama had long supported g restrictions. criminals don't have gat their hands. we can make certain that those who are mentally deranged are not getting ahold of handguns. we can trace guns that have been used in crimes. >> narrator: for the nra, it was time to activate the playbook. >> the only thing that stops a
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bad guy with a gun is a good guy with gun. >> and he almost immediately r goht back to what they usually say, which is that the answer to this is more guns. >> what if he'd been confrontedd by qualirmed security? >> the nra wins by pickingfi ts. its power swells, in a certain regard, every time it has its members feel under attack, that their rights are under attack. >> our children, we as society leave them every day utterly defenseless, and the monsters and the predators of the world know it and exploit it. he didn't lose it.f the cuff. this was very thought-out. and they decided on a strategy, and they executed the strategy. >> because t people that it resonated with gave more money. and this is what you nd to do in order to keep that, that
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tough persona. >> "and we've got to send the signal that this is not the time to compromise, that obama is the enemy, and they want to take your guns away. yes, it's too bad about the, the kids, but we are not going to back down." (siren blaring in distance) >> narrator: at the white house, theyanted an ally who could reach out to nra members. and they knew just the man. >> as your senator, i'll protect our second amendment rights. that's why t nra endorsed me. i'll take on washington and this administration... >> narrator: joe manchin, who had an a rating from the nra, was shaken by the newtown shootings. >> it really got to me. these are babies, five- and o would have ever... it's just beyond my imagination, most atamericans', to conceive anything this horrific could happen in america. >> light bulbs went off at the capitol. harry reid and chuck schumer and their aides realized, "wait a
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second. we now have a democrat with an a rating from the nra saying he wants to do something." >> narrator: manchin returned to the same idea as clinton, requiring background checks at gun shows.in he hoped he could co the nra to go along. >> so manchin's argument to the nra is, "look, you'll never find a gun-safety bit of leslation that is as gun-friendly as this. and, and all we're really doing. is closing a looph >> i felt this would be something that they would embrace. it was tly a time that wayne lapierre and the nra, the leadership, could have rose to another level, complete another level. >> narrator:ith polls showing wide plic support forex nding background checks, manchin and the vice president figud they had a chance. >> everyone felt like the world was going to change, everyone i felt like thgoing to be the mass shooting that makes america really look at its gun laws and change something.
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>> i was optimistic. over 91% of the american people supported expanding background checks, 80% of the householdsmb that had an nra supported it.to >> nar under pressure, there was hope that lapierre might even get on board-- depart from the playbook. >> within the inner circles of the nra, the wes of senior nra officials shedding tears and saying to their husbands,et "sng has to happen. you, you have to do something different, honey." >> and so when they're hearing f m their own members, and when they're hearing it from their own wives, and when they're hearing it probay from others on staff, in that moment, they realized, "yes, wea to see about doing something here." >> narrator: nra staff met with manchin. >> they made some suggestions on some wording and changes from that standpoint, so, yes, theye had input, andlued that input. >> narrar: it didn't take long for news of the meeting to leak.
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>> ...that idea, now joe manchin says he might be working with the nra... >> the fact that the nra was even talking with manchine suggested at least som for negotiation for the group. >> two small groups, the gun owners of america and the national association of gun rights, gan to circulate letters saying, "we hear that the nra is compromising with manchin." "there"-- and they used that word, the dreaded c word, that "there's a compromise bill."ar >> narrator: pratt represented one of those groups, of the most fervent gun-rightse activists. >> the manchinill was not aiming at loopholes, it was aiming at nailing down some remaining freedom that american people hav gun control simply kills people. and for senator manchin to wave the bloody shi those children from newtown is despicable. >> narrator: pratt quicklyer issued an to his members, warning them about the nra's
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talks withanchin. >> we put out an alert saying,as "p if you belong to the nra, call this guy at this number and ask him to urge the powershat-be to oppose the bill." >> narrator: lapierre got the message. this bill wasn't going to fly with hard-core gun owners. >> the nra's main anxiety at that moment is not losing,s not seeing something enacted, it's not looking soft to their own membership and to the substantial number of americans, who probably number in the millions, who think the nra is not tough enough. >> narrator: lapierre pulled the nra out of the talks. >> suddenly, the nra stopped cooperating with manchin, stopped returning their emails, stopped calling. >> we are not going to let... >> narrator: lapierre returned to the playbook. he launched a full-scale assault on the legislation. >> remember this tv ad? >> narrator: just like he had
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done to al gore, he singled out senator manchin. >> thawas jomanchin's commitment. but now manchin is working with president obama and new york mayor michael bloomberg. concerned? you should be. >> senator manchin was vilified by the nra. it w almost like a personal vendetta. so they, you know, they chewed up one of their own. >> narrator: as lapierre waited for the votes, republicans and some conservative democrats backed away from the bill. >>r. isakson. mr. lautenberg. mr. leahy. mr. lee. mr. wyde (gavel raps) >> the amendment is not agreed to. >> narrato the bill fell five votes short. the nra had won. >> "how could theyote that y? don't they understand what happened? how can they dthat how can thise?"
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i mean, it was disbelief and a sense of betrayal. that was the mood. ♪ >> narrator: obama invited the newtown families to the white house after the vote >> daniel was a first-grader at sandy hook elementary school. i know that he felt,e felta nse of responsibility to us and, and to the nation, and to that 90% of the country that, that wanted this. you know, i think he felt a, a strong sense of responsibility t towat. and his, his disgust was palpable. >> it came down to politic- the worry that that vocal minority of gun owners would come after them in future elections. ameful day for washington.pretty thank you very much, everybody. ♪
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>> narrator: any effort at gun control in washington was over. >> ...in a stinging loss f president obama and, i might add, the country. ddening families of the sandy hook victims. >> not a single new federal gun law hapassed. and that had nra members celebrating. >> hey, hey, ho, ho! the nra has got to go! >> the nation's capital is the epicenter of the gun-control debate today, with hundreds of thousands of demonstrators... >> narrator: but by 2018, in the wake of the parkland soting, a formidable new threat to the nra was emerging. >> ...march for our lives right here in washington is the >> narrator: those parkland rch on washington.to lead a >> about half a million pele, at least, expected today in washington. >> narrator: they vented their anger and frustration at the nra. >> a march again the nra. a march agait republican lawmakers... >> washington is preparing for today's historic march for o liverally... >> i was in washington for the
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march. >> ...congress to address gun violence and school safety. >> and, i mean, the energy was huge. >> narrator: ryan deitsch was ere. >> i've been amazed by what i've seen. i'm amazed that i cannot see the end of this crowd here in dc day. (crowd cheers and applauds) t seeing that crowd on thay be unified over this one issue, th might be our reality no but it doesn't have to be, and we can change it together. thank you! >> the nra has never had tdeal with this kind of gerational problem before. they'd never gone up against a lented, and organized young people. >> emma, emma, emma! >> narrator: emma gonzález rallied the crowds. >> in a little over six minutes, 17 of our friends were taken from us. everyone who has beetouched by the cold grip of gun violence understands.
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>> hey, hey, ho, ho! the nra has got to go! hey, hey, ho, ho! >> the fact that it was actually the children who were in the scho was a very powerful, emotional message to the american public. it was just somethin unprecedented, and something that the, the pro-gun side really didn't have aounter to. >> today, the gun debate takes center stage at the white housei >> narrator: pnt donald trump invited the parkland survivors to the white house. >> now, the presidenwill host a listening session today at the white house. >> ...to hear firsthand from survivs... >> ...for a face-to-face meeting with the preside. >> the question remains is what >> it's not going to b,of this. like it has been in the past. it's being going on too long, too many instances. g and we're going it done. we're going to be very strong on background checks. we'll be doing very strong background checks. very strong emphasis on the mental health of somebody. and he said, "you know, want to do legislation, let's do ll, i'll sign it." >> we're going to come up with a
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solution. god bless yoall. thank you. >> president trump vowing to take action. >> the president, who has indicated hiopenness to gun control, met students... >> narrator: to the nra and wayne lapierre, it looked like the president was walking away from them. >> gun-rights supporte were dumbfounded, they were stunned. >> narrator: and day after day, it continued.>> ou guys, half of you are so afraid of the nra. there's nothing to be afraid ofn and yo what? if they're not with you, we have to fight them every once in a while-- that's okay. i appreciate it very much... >> president tmp making so waves in the gun-control debate. >> "we're going to have to fight them,"anguage that the nra clearly does not want to hear. >> narrator: then trump went even further. he decided to revive obama's newtown bill. >> democrats and republicans are going to be seated around one table. >> narrator: he invited senator manchin and others tput together a deal. >> we could have one terrific bill that everybody... started by the people around this table. we could have an amazing result. now, this is not a popular thing to say in terms of the nra, but
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i'm sayingt anyway, i'm going to just have to say it. but people want to see something happen. some good stf. we want to pass something greatl thank you l very much. thank you. thank you very much, thank you. >> mr. president, could yosee yourself supporting... >> narrator: to swten the deal, manchin would offer tol rename the be trump common sense gun bill.d >> ...amid a heatedebate that put him at odds with the powerful nra... >> narrator: the nra sprung into action. wayne lapierre headed to the white house for a face-tfacede with the pre. >> the nra quickly reacting to that exchange, strongly disagreeing... >> narrator: he made it clear where the nra stood. >> ...fighting back against something the president said about assault-style... >> wayne lapierre got with president trump and knocked him upside the head a little bit, and, you know, before you knew it, the was no gun-safety legislation. and parkland had produced nothing in washington. >> despite denials from the white house, it's the presidentg who appears to beno the nra. >> trump appears to be bowing to the demands of the nra.
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>> the nra meanwhile claims it has the president on its side. >> they are the best equipped, most feared ecial-interest group on capitol hill. i mean, they are sort of the gold standard in how to do lobbying work in washington. >> i think, truth be told, thenr white house needs th the nra needs this white house. >> narrator: lapierre and the nra were ely investors in the trump presidency. (crowd cheering)an >> ladiegentleman, the next president of the united states, donald trump. >> narrator: they had spent more than $30 million supporting the trump campaign. >> the nra, earlier than ever bere, officially endorsed him and supported his campaign. in the political environment, they had to become pro-trump, and, and very sertively pro-trump. >> narrator: soon after that visit to the white house, president trump and the nra were back on the same team. >> "great meeting in the oval office tonight with the nra!"
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"respe 2nd amendment!" "highly trained expert teachers will be allowed to conceal carry." "i want to thank all of our friends and patriots at the nra. we will never fail, and we will always protect your seco amendment!" >> this is what democracy looks like! >> narrator: buthe parkland students were keeping the pressure on. >> ...developing story on the south de, survivors from the parkland, florida, school shooting... >> ...parkland school shooting n have announced aionwide bus tour to change gun laws. >> narrator: they traveled the countr pushing their gun-control campaign. >> the summer bus tour is making more than stops in over 20 states, pushing for gun refo. >> through our unified message,t we were able to combm in ways that they had never been challenged before. >> we must put an end to thece senseless violhat rages in our communities, and we need to put each other first. >> yes! >> for about two decades, democrats were running scared of the nr and i think parkland changed
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that. >> trying to get so many people registered to vote. >> when the kids of parkland started this incredible grassroots movement... >> this does not just lie in the city of parkland.t >>ptivated constituents. hearing from people bae,rted "hey, why aren't you doing anything?" >> narrator: t parkland students had helped put gun control on the agenda of the 2018 midterms. the nra was under fire. >> i'll take on the nra, ban assault rifles, ban bump stocks. >> one out of five guns are obtained without a background check. >> (bleep) the nra. >> narrator: for the first time... >> these weapons have no place... >> narrator: hundreds of democrats were taking on t nra. >> i'll fight the gun lobby. n >> because the is an embarrassment, and weapons i used in iraq have business on our streets. >> we had had a mont. we had had a chance to turn the tides, and we fundamentally did. >> this is a very significant
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defeat for mr. trump, a historic accomplishmt for the democrats. >> narrator: and on election night, a big victory for those democrats who challenged the nra. >> democrats picked up more than two dozen house seats to take control for the first ti in eight years.ar >> many of thefrom red districts, some of whomct represent distthat haven't been in democratic hands since the early 1960s. those people are not nra supporters. y >> let me hear scream! >> ♪ i'm all the way up, oh all the way up, all the way up all the way upe i'm all thway up... ♪ >> narrator: one candidate who won was letitia james... >> new york now has a new state attorney general.th >> narrator: .new york attorney general. >> new york state's top legal official, and tish james made story today. >> democrat letitia "tish" james, and... >> and our nation is at a pivotal moment in histor and we are careening... >> narrator: she immediately turned her sights on the nra. >> we need an attorney general who will go after gunnu
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cturers and the nra. >> narrator: as attorney general, james wld go after the nra from a new angle, to try and weaken it from the inside. >> the new york attorney general has a lot of power. she can subpoena their records, and she can look into precisely ending money.raising and >> she wasoing to dig in and see what exactly were they doing, how were they spending their money. >> the national riflen associat under investigation by new york state's attorney general.. >> the nra in crisis, with the new york attorney generalnv launching antigation... >> new york's attorney general's office has opened an investigation... >> and so, that became a reall significant threat to the nra. >> $200,000 in nra... >> narrator: then, a big breakth at would feed the investigation. >> wayne lierre looting the coffers. >> complaint about the nra's tax-exempt status... >> narrator: leaks from insidea. the >> ...extracted hundreds off millions ollars... >> narrator: allegations ofin lavish speand financial misconduct by lapierre.
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>> the nra spent more than $200,000 of its members'.. donati >> narrator: there were bills for nearly $300,000 from a beverly hills clothing store, t private jethe bahamas, and plans for a $6 million mansionou on a dallas golfe. >> there were a lot of people around nra looking to be rich. can't imagine any other nonprofit in the entire country that has a similar mission where people are making so much money. >> narrator: aaron davis spent a decade as an nra fundraiser. h this is the first tihas spoken on camera. >> the hypocrisy of it all is that the membership who gives $25 doesn't, they don't know where their mones going. >> narrator: to date, attorney general james has issued subpoenas to nearly 100 formerd rrent nra officials. lapierre has died any wrongdoing, but the investigation has thrown the nra and its leadership into crisis. >> now you see a wayne lapierre
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to a corner.siege and backed and the nra is vulnerable to these investigations into its finances that are ongoin so, it's just mired in internal problems and, you know, dysfunction. (crowd chanting "trump!") >> narrator: and now, in the midst of the presidential campaign, lapierre, the nra, and their chosen candidate find themselves in the crosshairs of democratic challengers. >> i want to tell you, if i'm elected, nra, i'm coming for you. and gun manufacturers, i'm going to take you on, and i'm going to beat you. i'm the only one who's done it. >> we need to expand background checks, end the gun-show loophole, and do what the ameran people want, not what the nra wants. >> narrator: but wayne lapierre, as always, says the nra is ready for the fight. >> the threat that is staring us election is greater than anyhis
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threat we've faced in our lives. i'm here to tell you that it will not happen on my watch. i promise you. (audience cheering) ♪ >> go to pbs.org/frontline to hear more from formerin nrder aaron davis. >> and i felt like i as an nra fundraiser i was contruting to the problem of taking this to a place that did not look good. >> and how gun control groups are closing the spending gap with the nra. o >> throu unified message we were able to comabt them in ways that they had nevebeen challenged before. >> connect to the frontline communtiy on facebook and twitter, and watch anytime on the pbs video app, or pbs.org/frontline. wo >> thrld is flooded with plastic garbage. >> in this state, none of this is recyclable. >> narrator: have efforts to solve the plastics problem made it worse? >> do you think the
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industry used recycling to sell more plastic? >> absolutely. >> narrator: frontline and npr investigate the ttle over plastics. >> we have to manage the waste right. we have to fix this. >> narrator: and what's at stake... >> for the oil and gas industry plastic is their lifelin this is the big war. >> narrator: coming in april... >> today the world health orgagzation officially callin it a pandemic... >> narrator: from washington state... >> washington state is reporting more deaths from the virus... >> nartor: to washington d.c >> anybody that needs a test gets a test, they're there. >> narrator:orrespondent miles o'brien investigates when politics and science collide. and paso, the outbreak's im on the poor. a frontline special report, "coronavirus pandemic". >>byrontline is made possibl contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. and by the corporation for public broadcasting. major support is provided by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation, committed
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to building a more jus verdant and peaceful world. more information is available at macfound.org. the ford foundation: working with visionaries on the frontlin of social change worldwide. at fordfoundation.org. additional support is provided by the abrams foundation, committed to excellence in journalism.ou the parkation, dedicated to heightening public awareness of critical issues. the john and helen glessner family trust. supporting trustworthy t journalit forms and inspir. and by thesm frontline journaund, with major support from jon and jo ann hagler. captioned by media access groupt wgbh access.wgbh.org >> for more on this and other "frontline" programs, visit our website at pbs.org/frontline.
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♪ frontline's, "nra under fire" i available on amazon prime video. ♪ ♪ you're watching pbs. ♪
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-whilehen a quest of tourist destination, gilda passionately investigates the untold stories of illegal slave tding in brazil. slavery in brazil was . howeve c a massive network oforruption was formed to supply cheap labor to the btling coffee iustry. [ gilda speaking portuguese ] m -directors robertoanhaes reis and viola scheuererxp present anloration of identity dd ancestry from gilda'siscoveries.th while past may be difficult, the legacy of slavery nnot be erased. on this episode of "afropop,"

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